Dr Hans Selye from Montreal coined the word stress over sixty years ago. Stress is an integral component of our existence and Dr Selye has stated that, “Complete freedom from stress is death.” Stress is a feeling created when we react to particular events. It’s the body way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness.
When the body responds to a particular event, the nervous system reacts and adrenal glands release hormones in the blood stream producing physical changes within the body to help a person to react quickly and effectively to handle the pressure of the moment. The natural reaction is called the stress response.
The body’s stress response enhances a person’s ability to perform well under pressure. There are two categories of stress: good stress characterized by happiness and enjoyment and bad stress or distress characterized by anguish, tension and worry.
The Good stress can keep you on your toes, ready to rise to a challenge. With little stress, the nervous system quickly returns to its normal state, standing by to respond again when needed. But, stress is different for every person. Some people seem to thrive on high-pressure situations, while others in the same situation could feel overwhelmed and threatened.
The Bad stress or Distress is when the nervous system fails to turn off and reset itself properly. Long-term and prolonged stress will cause the cardiovascular and the immune system to undergo degenerative changes and wear out the body’s reserve. This negative stress could, over time, take a toll on your health. However, there are some signals that could lead you to take action. Signals like to be unusually anxious or nervous, distracted, self-absorbed, irritable or feeling excessive worry and internal pressure. Without preventive action, eventually, stress could cause symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure or depression.
Stress treatment involves behavior modifications. Avoiding the situations that cause the stress is the most basic strategy, however often this is not possible.
Frequently stress responses are irrational and therapist will work to change individual’s perspective in responding to the event that provokes stress called stressor. Meditation has beneficial effects on reducing stress as do moderate or strenuous exercise.
The first step is to try to identify the cause of your stress and remove yourself from it or address the situation and undertake concrete tasks you can accomplish easily. Working toward a goal is rewarding.
The second step is to build your Resilience by developing positive attitudes, by taking action to solve problems, getting good night’s sleep, participating in activities for relaxation and fun, building good relationships with family and friends.
If the stress begins to interfere with your daily activities, it may be time to seek help from health professionals.
There are good natural products that promote inner calmness, healthy feelings and help balance unsettled emotions.
By Gilles Coulombe